Like all good spin doctors, Dick Armey never lets the facts get in the way of his message. His most recent foray into revisionism came at The New Yorker Festival’s Tea Party panel where Armey spun the history of the tea party movement not as the well-financed astro-turf campaign that it is, but as an authentic popular uprising that coincided with the end of the Bush administration.
According to Armey’s version of history, the tea party movement was not a reaction against the Obama administration, but one that was born around October 2008 when the Bush administration passed TARP- the bank bailout otherwise known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Armey’s narrative failed to reconcile with the actual chronology of the movement, including the first organized tea party protests that were inspired by the now-infamous rant by CNBC’s Rick Santelli over the idea of bailing homeowners out of bad mortgages, not Wall Street out of shoddy investments. That on-air rant came just two days after President Obama signed into law the first stimulus bill, another fact noticeably absent from Armey’s narrative.
The origins of the tea party movement weren’t the only areas where Armey’s spin was in full-effect. For a great recap of his efforts check here.
Armey’s efforts, while not surprising, illustrate the deeply troubling nature of the tea party movement itself. It’s a movement that preys on the vulnerabilities and insecurities of white Americans all the while actively lobbying for legislation that run completely counter to those interests. It’s a movement funded and founded in cynicism and is not authentic and hardly American.
But Dick Armey will still sell it to you anyways.
photo courtesy of Fibonnaci Blue via Flickr